National Partnership for culture: terms of reference

Remit and terms of reference for the National Partnership for culture.

National Partnership for Culture meetings have been paused pending the outcome of a strategic stakeholder review by the Culture and Major Events Directorate.


To support the implementation of the Culture Strategy, advising, supporting and challenging thinking to ensure Scotland is a place where everyone’s culture is valued, protected, and nurtured.


To provide an overview of culture in Scotland, supporting more strategic and connected approaches across government, the sector and beyond, to ensure that its transformative potential for everyone can be realised.


The Culture Strategy for Scotland was published in February 2020, only a few weeks before COVID-19 restrictions began. Although the context for the Strategy has changed, its ambitions to strengthen culture and to transform and empower through culture remain central. The emerging political and social consensus is that urgent progress is needed to ensure that the sector’s renewal and recovery can, in turn, play its full part in ‘building back better’.


The main objectives of the Partnership will be to:

  • provide advice and guidance to Scottish Ministers on key strategic issues affecting culture in Scotland; working in partnership on issues of national importance as part of a collective approach to realising culture’s potential, building on the views and ideas raised throughout the development of the Strategy
  • cconsider and advise on ways of promoting the recovery of the culture sector in light of the Covid-19 pandemic as a matter of priority.
  • advocate for the many ways in which culture can help to support society throughout the pandemic and its aftermath.
  • champion A Culture Strategy for Scotland and act as an advocate for culture in Scotland; highlighting its intrinsic role in society and its ability to deliver positive outcomes
  • make recommendations on the future priorities for delivery of the Strategy’s vision, ambitions and aims and in support of the National Outcome for Culture (‘We are creative and our vibrant and diverse cultures are expressed and enjoyed widely’) and all the other National Outcomes that culture can help deliver
  • advise Scottish Ministers – through the establishment of a Measuring Change subgroup – on implementation of evidence-based approaches towards realising the National Outcome for Culture and the delivery of the ambitions in the Culture Strategy

Terms of reference

(a) Relationship with Scottish Ministers

  • the National Partnership for Culture is an advisory group whose role is to advise Scottish Ministers on Culture issues
  • the Partnership will develop a work-plan and timetable at each stage of its work and report to Scottish Ministers on the work-plan’s completion
  • it will present recommendations on initial priorities at a date to be agreed and will then establish its own timetable for the rest of its work-plan
  • the Partnership will meet over a two year period after which its remit and membership will be reviewed.
  • the Partnership will be asked to publish an annual report on its work and progress with implementing the Strategy on the SG website.

 (b) Membership

  • the Partnership will review its membership to ensure that it has wide expertise and is inclusive
  • it may co-opt members with specific expertise to attend meetings on an ad hoc basis
  • it is expected to establish its own ways of working
  • to facilitate open and frank exchange, it is expected that partnership discussions would be kept confidential between its members

(c) Secretariat

  • the secretariat will be provided by the Scottish Government.  Minutes of meetings will be published on the Scottish Government website.
  • the Scottish Government will provide venues and refreshments for meetings and limited expenses of members. Locations to be agreed by members.
  • where possible, meetings will be held in Scottish Government premises or in members’ premises across Scotland, with option to participate remotely.

(d) Sub-Groups

  • The Partnership may establish topic-specific or short-life subgroups.
  • such groups should be set an objective or objectives by the Partnership and provide a progress report to each of the meetings of the Partnership. 
  • the provision of the secretariat for the subgroups will be agreed by discussion with members and the Chair

(e) Work-plan

Specifically, the Partnership should:

  • agree its remit, terms of reference and work-plan
  • make recommendations based on evidence about initial priorities emerging from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and informed by the culture strategy and advise Ministers on delivery of the agreed vision, ambitions, aims and actions set out therein to help realise the transformational potential of culture
  • advise Ministers of the strategic changes needed across the culture sector and other sectors to enable partners to work together towards achievement of the National Outcome.


  • membership of the NPC is on a non-remunerated and non-pensionable voluntary basis. It is not a public appointment and is not subject to the public appointments process.
  • the timing and duration of NPC meetings will be agreed by the membership
  • members will be expected to read meeting papers and prepare for each meeting in advance (2 hours per meeting).
  • some members may be asked to lead sub-groups for specific thematic priorities.
  • the Chair will be required to attend additional meetings and events including an annual meeting with the Cabinet Secretary.
  • the proposals set out below may also apply to reimbursement of non-core members who are invited to attend specific thematic meetings or short life sub-groups as applicable. They will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • core membership of the group will number 13 maximum plus the Chair.

The Scottish Government will:

  • reimburse all reasonable receipted expenses required in helping members carry out their duties effectively, including carer expenses such as childcare, travel and subsistence. Note: If members are already employed in the public sector and are attending meetings or carrying out duties in work time, we would not normally expect to reimburse any expenses. In these cases, however, we will consider claims for travel and subsistence from out with the central belt. Qualifying travel and subsistence claims will be reimbursed in line with Scottish Government rates and conditions of payment.
  • cover loss of earnings for any freelancers and SME creative businesses using an hourly rate calculated at the lowest point of Tier 2 of the daily fee framework (£177 for Members and £211 for Chairs).
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